10 days of free music + art

Pittsburgh, PAJune 3-12, 2016

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Spotlight on the Harris (and Two Friends)

The Harris Theater is one of my favorite movie theaters. I’ve seen lots of great films there. Once, during First Night, my family and I used it to escape the elements, only to sit and watch old movie trailers, bundled up in winter coats, hats and scarves. After my parents and brother warmed up (the time it took for us to watch the trailer for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?) they were ready to leave. I had to be dragged from my seat, aghast that no one in my family cared enough to stay and watch the trailer for Cool Hand Luke. Have I mentioned I’m a complete film geek?

Cinephiles rejoice – this year’s Three Rivers Arts Festival features free screenings at the Harris Theater, including documentaries, shorts from local filmmakers and students, and much more. It turns out I know two of the Filmmakers’ students who are screening their Senior theses during the Festival. To get a taste of what their films will be like, I prepared a short questionnaire for my friends Josh Green and Brenden Gallagher to fill out.

1) Describe your film in terms of other movie titles.

Josh: My film, The Boy with Unfortunate Aim, is a story about a boy who gets a BB gun for his birthday and accidentally kills a toad with it. His friend convinces him he’s going to become a serial killer. I’d say it’s a bit like Bottle Rocket meets Stand by Me, or maybe Blade Runner meets Ernest Scared Stupid.

Brenden: My film, The World’s Events, is part of a larger work entitled If You and I Were the Last Two People On Earth…. It attempts to examine how “real people” would respond to a zombie apocalypse. Think less of Shaun of the Dead and more of Little Miss Sunshine.

2) Name a few filmmakers that you like, or that have influenced your work.

Josh: Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, is my favorite filmmaker. His technique is effortless, and the way he tells a story is almost perfect. I also like Charlie Kaufman for the same reasons.

Brenden: I grew up on comedy and I still count Monty Python as my biggest influence. Though my work doesn’t always operate in a sketch comedy vein, they taught me that you can question the absurdity of the world and still create accessible art.

3) What’s the last movie you watched?

Josh: I watched Gran Torino on an airplane.

Brenden: My sister and I are working through the entire series of Northern Exposure.

4) If you have a Three Rivers Arts Festival memory that you want to share, please do so.

Josh: I was only there once.

Brenden: The container installations last summer were great. Though the sheer variety of the environments was awesome, I particularly enjoyed one exhibit that drew comparisons between bars and churches.

5) Describe Pittsburgh in one word.

Josh: Upsurge. Or vanguard.
Brenden: Stillers!

You can see Josh and Brenden’s films as part of the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Senior Thesis Screening, Sunday, June 7, at 4pm and
Saturday, June 13, at 3pm.

The complete list of films, including descriptions and show times is available here.